The Tipping Point

Tipping PointBy: Malcom Gladwell

Gladwell believes that social phenomenon (such as the wild popularity of children’s show “Blue’s Clues”, or the ebb and flow of teenage smoking habits) are affected by something he calls the “Tipping Point”.

The tipping point is that one point where a phenomenon tips from being a small. potentially isolated sociological event to becoming a major, widespread happening. Some examples: Hush Puppies went from being a totally lame piece of footwear to becoming a massive, sought-after fashion statement. Sesame Street went from being a small, experimental children’s television show to becoming an ingrained part of our childhood experience. All of these things, according to Gladwell, had their own “tipping points”.

This is a fairly well written book, with some fascinating insights into a bunch of different events which Gladwell traces to discover each one’s particular tipping point. I found the main problem with this book was that Gladwell sometimes over-emphasizes his point with almost too much backing information; he sometimes overwhelms the point he’s trying to make and in a few spots drags things out a bit too much.

The interesting thing is, this book has also had its own tipping point. It has become a gigantic bestseller via word of mouth, incredibly savvy marketing, and some well-placed positive reviews. In addition, the term “tipping point” has started to work its way into our daily lexicon. That, more than anything else, is proof that Gladwell is onto something.

ISSN 1499-7894
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